Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra has termed the inaugural IPL champions, Rajasthan Royals, as a mid-table team, stating that one should not be surprised if they once again fail to qualify for the playoffs.
Rajasthan Royals have not qualified for the IPL playoffs since 2018 where they eventually finished at the 4th spot.
The last season proved to be a nightmare for the franchise as they ended up claiming the wooden spoon.
The Royals will embark on a new era under the leadership of Sanju Samson in the forthcoming season but Aakash Chopra believes that a lot of things needs to go in their favor if they are to qualify for the playoffs as, according to him, there are still a lot of gaping holes in the squad.
“It seems to be a mid-table team. They will qualify for the playoffs if a lot of things go in their favor. If they don’t qualify, it should neither be a surprise for you nor will I be surprised because there are gaps that need plugging,” said Aakash Chopra in a video published on his official Youtube channel.
Chopra made a few more predictions about the individual players in Rajasthan Royals.
The renowned commentator has picked swashbuckling stumper Jos Buttler to top the run-scoring charts for the franchise and captain Sanju Samson to hit the most number of sixes.
“Jos Buttler will be the highest run-getter for the Rajasthan Royals this season. He will hopefully play as an opener and will continuously open,” predicted Chopra.
“Sanju Samson will hit the most number of sixes. He has the six-hitting ability. The first five matches are in Mumbai and then four in Delhi, the first nine matches are on small grounds. In such a scenario, Sanju Samson will put the bowlers on ransom,” added Chopra.
As far as Ben Stokes is concerned, Aakash Chopra has reckoned that the all-rounder will end up as the most expensive bowler for his side.
“Ben Stokes could be their most expensive bowler. There are huge chances of that. One thing is he bowls very less and whenever he bowls I have seen him getting hit a lot,” concluded Chopra.
Rajasthan Royals will kickstart their IPL 2021 campaign against Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 12.